Manuel Pulgar-Vidal – Closing Keynote: From here to Paris

8 December 2014

Minister of Environment, Peru, and UNFCCC COP20 President, Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, delivers a keynote speech at the closing plenary on the second day of the Global Landscapes Forum 2014, in Lima, Peru, during COP20.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Global Landscapes Forum, Lima, Peru

#COP20GLF #ThinkLandscape

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal – Closing Keynote- From here to Paris (Transcript)

MP:                    [0:00] Thank you. Thank you very much for this opportunity to show you some ideas about the landscape approach and its role in this climate debate. And let me take this opportunity to switch into Spanish to try to share with you these reflections.

[1:35]… biological diversity and species, genes and ecosystems. This means that the forests arrived rather late to the party of the debate. We understood its role rather late. And we had to begin to mature and understand. These issues weren’t considered important or relevant at the beginning, in Tokyo, and the beginning of clean development. The discussions in Marrakesh helped us to understand that the plantations had a role, but that native forests also had a role within the mechanism of green development. And so we began to mature and recognize that, with scientific advance, that landscape and forests did play a role. Not just as for retaining carbon, but also places which could have a value in themselves. And this is a historic element that we must remember and bear in mind, because very often we forget that the forests had an active market, but they had a very slow market role.

[2:48] And the problem is that we find ourselves in a situation in which the voluntary market has understood that the market didn’t generate the prices and values that would have led us to a more dynamic understanding of the forests and the way they capture carbon. And today we have to build that. Rather, a process of reconstructing with regard to the mechanism of the forest. Mechanisms like REDD+ implementing that value of the carbon and the value of other elements such as culture and biodiversity and others.

[3:29] This is my first suggestion. History and the role of forests in the path towards Paris. But we also have to recognize balance, the importance of balance. We are in a situation in which we are discussing things from above, downwards, in an agreement or convention about what we can achieve over the next year. But, at the same time, this is based on domestic reality, national realities. I’m going to make a few comments which are fundamental with respect to the landscape approach in the climate debate, and the role that this needs to achieve in Paris next year. First of all, my first comment is the concept of landscapes. A little while ago, it was mentioned that our concept of landscape, that’s an English concept, has a translation which in Spanish is paisaje, which doesn’t seem to be an exact translation. Because the word paisaje immediately makes you think of something aesthetic, something visual. And not one which the idea of landscape aims to do, which is something dynamic. I.e., the forest is not isolated from the situation in which they find themselves – all local residents or the structures developed in them. And what will happen in the future.

[5:01] There’s a social and economic dynamic. There’s a cultural dynamic around these landscapes, and that’s why I like in Spanish to talk much more about situation rather than landscape. And we have to think about these scenarios. Landscape is place which gains you food security. It also gets you water security. But often it provides countries with energy security. It also offers health security as the Global [Unclear 5:37] said in this document called The Amazon and Securities. And this focus, this approach of landscape dynamics helps us to see the landscape in terms of these securities. But, at the same time, this is something where there are relations, and this is something which has to do with what Per said. He talked about goals which can’t be concentrated just on the logic of the forest, but of the whole dynamic scenario. The scenario of securities, the scenario of relationships.

[6:13] Today, earlier during this forum, I was able to talk to my friends and the ministers of environment and minister of agriculture from Latin American countries. And we realized there was a tremendous relationship between agriculture and forests, and the role that that the ministries of environment and the ministries of agriculture. And so my comments were based on the fact that agriculture and the change of soil use or land use is the great dynamic of deforestation of the forests, and the change in land use which is badly regulated or not regulated at all. Cannot sustain or bear the pressure of growth of the agricultural frontier. And very often a number of perverse incentives are presented, and only give production value to the crops and not to the forests. And that’s the first thing we should consider. That both agriculture and forests are submitted to a threat of the climate.

[7:17] Which is the lack of water, shortage of water, and the alteration of ecosystems which can be affected from drought, they can suffer from flooding because of heavy rains. But, at the same time, this relationship between forests and agriculture must be seen in terms of practice and in the resources, genetic resources. Irrigation, water reserves, and the in the way that we can handle precisely this threat. And that is why this path from domestic, national to global levels is something we have to understand not just in terms of securities but also in terms of relationships.

[8:06] So, another comment I can say about how we see the landscape focus has to do with the question of values. Mechanism like REDD+ have a logic of values, which many feel is limited when we only think about economic values or market values. When we all know that REDD+ is a mechanism in which the market values and the values of the economy must be additional to the value of culture and ecosystems. The value for the populations which in this area, a series of values which can make this mechanism real to overcome poverty. And for including but also controlling deforestation. Because when we look at the forest as something which is isolated and separate and is just an element of the market, and we divorce it from cultural elements, that’s when we fail to achieve. To make sure these mechanisms become efficient for precisely generating not just the capacity for capturing carbon, but also for overcoming poverty and respecting culture.

[9:19] So when we think about landscapes, we integrate better the question of value. And my third comment has to do with challenges. The challenges of a country like Peru in this global debate and in the path towards Paris. Start by recognizing and acknowledging it is precisely these responsibilities that the states are assuming in this debate on the basis of national contributions that we can start to define with greater exactitude how we are going to tackle the questions linked to mitigation and adaptation. In other words, there is no way to move towards a national contribution of a country like Peru without sufficient information about the sources of emissions. There is no way to go towards the consolidation of solid REDD+ mechanisms without these clear references. There’s no way to dynamize mechanisms like REDD+ without legal security over the land.

[10:31] And this is one of the things relevant to the path forward, because it is precisely this articulation – the values, relationships and scenarios, which will help us to make sure the concept of landscapes becomes a mechanism relevant for the future. That is why we celebrate the signing of the letter of intention with Norway and Germany. Because it incorporates titles and policies and the identification of levels of reference. It articulates these, which is the way we have to work with a landscape approach. And I want to finish by saying that path to Paris, I think has today, COP 20 in Lima, the right atmosphere for being successful. And in matters relative to REDD+, we recognize that Warsaw left a very solid institutional framework, and the world is grateful for that. And has congratulated the forum. There are a number of things to streamline, there are focal points that have to be refined. There are things to be discussed. But I am quite sure that the path will manage to consolidate this mechanism and make sure that landscapes become a central element in climate strategies.

[11:45] Tomorrow, Monday, precisely when the meetings recommence, we will be celebrating the REDD+ day. And we will have a series of activities, one of which will be the presentation of levels of references of six countries. Six countries are making progress in pointing out, in signaling and making the first significant step in how they are going to make sure that the forests are relevant in this climate debate. So, we recognize that this is a process and you have to go step by step. It’s a process where no one can be a protagonist. It’s a process in which every element that we get is one step further towards progress. We celebrate the fact that landscapes, although they’ve come late to the party, are going to have access – even though they should have been there from the start. We know that this forum in Lima will be successful. And the path towards Paris will conclude by recognizing that the landscape approach has a central role. Thank you very much.

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